not only were Labour let off their over-spending, but they had ignored clear warnings prior to the election from the Chief Electoral Officer, and also reneged on an agreement with the Chief Electoral Officer. Despite all this the Police took no action. Why? The only answers are either incompetence, or timidity towards the Government bordering on corruption. The Police made mistakes so basic that the author has concluded that they should lose their power to investigate and decide upon prosecutions relating to the Electoral Act.The Police began an 'investigation,' but they took no legal advice, undertook no interviews, kept no records, investigated the wrong thing, and then ran out of time. It was the investigation you have when you're not having an investigation.
A perusal of the papers released from the Police show they made three fundamental errors. These were:Incompetence or corruption? Both? Hard to know for sure, but we do know:
(a) They confused the issue of whether the pledge card should have been funded from a parliamentary budget with the issue of whether it constituted election advertising;
(b) They didn’t even investigate the more serious over-spending offence, instead focusing all their efforts on the lack of authorisation;
(c) They failed to realise an offence under Section 221 is one of strict liability, where intent is not necessary.
During the period of the investigation, many senior police officers were applicants for the roles of Police Commissioner and Deputy Police Commissioner -- which are personally appointed by the Prime Minister. One can only wonder how much of an impact this had on the police decision making...Indeed. And if you want to keep three months ahead of the play, then maybe you should think about subscribing to The Free Rad now ...
LINK: Free Radical 71: The Stolen Election - SOLO
RELATED: Politics-NZ, Politics-Labour, Darnton V Clark